Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Dark age of cycling

I call it the Darkstrong epoch.

Others will evoke lies, cheating and bullying. Funnily enough, we cycling enthusiasts and observers in France thought it fabulous, at the time, that a New World offspring could arrive here as a conqueror.

People are confused, particularly those of us who admired Armstrong immensely. Some of us (such as Laurent Jalabert, manager of the French team) say that Armstrong was a great champion in spite of his doping... but that argument doesn't stand up to criticism. Others evoke his cancer combat... but is cheating a valid path to survival?

Others (including myself) are concerned primarily by the survival of professional cycling in general, and the Tour de France in particular. I'm convinced that they're bigger than a stealthy guy from Texas, a Republican buddy of George W Bush.

The most surrealist aspect of this whole affair is that Lance Armstrong persists in claiming that his critics have got things wrong. The situation is binary: Either the critics are totally off-target, or Armstrong is an evil liar (with a jail cell on the horizon).

Cycling is such a fabulous sport that it's a terrible shame that our horizons have sunken to this abysmal level.

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